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Another week, that was! Where does the time go? You wake up Monday morning and it feels like there is so much time ahead to do all you need or want to do, but next thing you know it’s Sunday night already! It’s been a blah week with only about one good day to get out, but everyone seems to be in the Christmas mood and doing extra decorating, indoors and out, sharing with those who pass by. Certainly lots to see from the various things planned and unplanned but waiting for you to ooh and aah.

Sunday was the Sunday of JOY! All the messages I read seemed to underline the fact that happiness and joy are not the same thing. Happiness is what people get from outside influences, such as other people, activities, or possessions. Joy comes from within and even though there are many bad or sad outside things going on, such as this pandemic and all that goes with it, you can still find Joy inside and cope with the circumstances.

Barbara Brown Taylor once wrote that, “The only condition for joy is the presence of God. Joy happens when God is present and people know it, which means that it can erupt in a depressed economy, in the middle of a war, in our darkest moment. Mary had this joy even while being in a situation that was very unpleasant in her village and time. JOY, in other words, is something we simply have to accept and cherish it for what it is.”

As many of you know, I spent 16 years working as a volunteer in Belize. I lived in a small town a half mile from the Guatemala border. My town is grieving today because two of its own, two young men, twins, only 33 years old, both doctors, have died from COVID-19, in the last couple of days. Bad enough they died as have many others, but as doctors they were badly needed as the supply is short. Their aunt was my doctor when I lived there.

Two other young men, also doctors and from our area, are both fighting for their lives. We can be very thankful for our own well-trained and seemingly inexhaustible medical personnel with better PPE and equipment to work with. Please pay them honour by doing what is asked of us, wear masks, stay six feet apart, wash your hands and don’t gather in big groups, or any other than households this Christmas season.

Congratulations to Pat and Charlie Hamilton on their 52nd anniversary. It’s been awhile now since they retired and they seem to be both enjoying their time greatly. Also celebrating was Margaret Harwood Eng and Gord Eng who have been married for 30 years-already! They live in Alberta and have two beautiful daughters!

Rev. Glen Ball is a minister at St. Andrews Presbyterian church now and lives in Brandon, Manitoba. He celebrated his half-century birthday. Glenn was raised close by me.

If you get the Saturday Star, you would have noticed a column about Habitat for Humanity and a group of homes built in Oshawa. As part of the article they mentioned Josh Morrison, famous in Uxbridge for his Pennies for Houses that he started when he was only 11. He raised $125,000 over a number of years and was also able to be part of building that house.

The article shows a picture of one of the doors in the house covered with some of the pennies he raised. Josh is 19 now and in university if BC but he has a legacy already!

Many of you will know Wilma and John Bakelaar. Wilma’s dad operated a clothing store and when he retired John and Wilma operated a shoe store. Then they moved to Lake Huron, where they owned a lovely lodge. On retirement they, like so many others from here, went south but not to Florida, living out of their trailer for the winter. This years, like many, they are staying put in Stratford.

This week I had a letter from Audrey Kester. Audrey wrote about what it is like living in her retirement home now that they are in lockdown. They cannot leave their room, and I am sure this is a sad situation for many others living in similar conditions. She seems to be coping well, but a few letters or cards would help for many of our older folk in similar circumstance.

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